Women who are nursing can safely receive Recombivax HB (hepatitis B vaccine). According to the current recommendation on breastfeeding and Recombivax HB, nursing does not reduce the vaccine's effectiveness, nor is it dangerous for your breastfed child. However, simply getting vaccinated yourself does not protect your child from hepatitis B -- he or she will still need to be vaccinated.
Is Recombivax HB Safe While Breastfeeding?
Recombivax HB® is a hepatitis B vaccine. As with almost all vaccines, Recombivax HB is considered safe to receive while breastfeeding. Both mothers and children -- even newborns -- can receive this vaccination.
Current Recommendations on Breastfeeding and Recombivax HB
Current guidelines state that breastfeeding women can safely receive this vaccine. In addition, breastfeeding will not reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine for either the mother or the child.
There is even a little early research indicating that infants who breastfeed may have an enhanced immune response to certain vaccine antigens. Theoretically, this could mean that vaccines might work better in nursing infants.
Vaccinating the mother, however, does not provide sufficient protection for the infant. If necessary, both mother and child should be vaccinated with Recombivax HB. Breastfed infants should receive this (and other vaccines) according to standard schedules.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss breastfeeding and Recombivax HB with your healthcare provider. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: hepatitis B vaccine (7/18/07). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/Pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hep-b.pdf. Accessed September 2, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed September 2, 2009.
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